Get out that shopping list, vinyl fans, because it’s almost the best holiday of all: Record Store Day! Among the many festivities associated with the annual event, which arrives Saturday, April 21, Record Store Day sees multiple artists shipping specialty albums to independent record shops worldwide.
With dozens of special edition pressings to choose from, it can be hard to decide just where you should begin. But look no further as we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Below are our top albums to look for on this year’s Record Store Day — and if you don’t have a turntable yet, check out our latest list of the Best turntables for under $500 and the best vinyl listening setups to get things spinning.
This special 50th-anniversary pressing of Johnny Cash’s two sets at Folsom State Prison in 1968 gives fans an even deeper glimpse at one of the most acclaimed live recordings ever made. The special box set release pressed just for Record Store Day of Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison features both concerts in full, including performances by June Carter, Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers, in a limited edition of just 2,500.
Australian songwriter Courtney Barnett is releasing a special picture disc version of her breakout double EP, A Sea of Split Peas, this Record Store Day. With 11 fantastic tracks that showcase her speech-song vocal style, and a temporary tattoo including in the package, there’s a lot to love about this 1,800-copy release.
Grammy award-winning jazz keyboardist Robert Glasper pairs up with Montreal producer Kaytranada on this special 8-track remix of Glasper’s 2016 album ArtScience. With cameos from Don Cheadle, Talib Kweli, Alex Isley, and Iman Omari, the special album showcases Glasper’s gorgeous beat music with a more electronic bent than fans heard on the original.
For the first time since its original 1994 release, fans of Notorious B.I.G. can snag a copy of one of the Brooklyn rapper’s most iconic singles on vinyl. Pressed to a clear/black marble swirl disc, the Bad Boy Records release has been limited to a worldwide run of 9,000 and marks yet another compelling piece of analog hip-hop to snag for your collection.
Midwestern songwriter Sufjan Stevens has been indie rock royalty for decades now, having crafted countless soft-spoken hits since his debut album A Sun Came first made waves in 2000. This special Record Store Day release showcases the three songs Stevens inked for the soundtrack for Call Me by Your Name, including Mystery of Love which competed for Best Original Song at this year’s Academy Awards.
Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald is known for her incredible live renditions of jazz standards, with a clear vocal tone and quick wit that remains unparalleled over two decades after her passing. On this beautiful pink and blue release from Verve Records, fans can hear Fitzgerald swing through classic renditions of In a Mellow Tone, How High the Moon, and more.
The cramped Sin-e club on Manhattan’s lower east side was the proving ground of iconic songwriter Jeff Buckley. With a single guitar and one of the most starkly beautiful voices in the history of music, Buckley played covers and originals to the tightly packed house, eventually earning himself a record contract with Columbia. This numbered, limited-edition release of 2,500 albums is an expanded version of his first record for the label, with live editions of classics like Grace, Last Goodbye, and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah appearing on wax for the first time.
Slacker-rock songwriter Mac Demarco teams up with his label Captured Tracks to offer fans a small run of never-before-heard demos this Record Store Day. The 14 songs, which were written for his fantastic 2017 album This Old Dog, are sure to showcase the same energetic, lo-fi vibes that drove the Canadian musician to prominence in the late-oughts.
A female country artist who rose to international fame as one of the first women to write and produce her own material, Bobbie Gentry has a cult following among fans of the genre, having written the classic Ode to Billie Joe in 1967. This album ranks as one of Record Store Day’s most exclusive, with just 1,200 copies of the Gentry’s unheard live sets at the BBC.
NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Concert-winners Tank and the Bangas are known for their energetic live R&B performances, a massive live band with powerful beats, bright instrumental tones, and an extremely positive outlook. We expect this live release to capture that magic on vinyl via a series of recordings taken at the Gasa Gasa in New Orleans during the band’s extensive touring last year.
To see the full list of records hitting shelves this Record Store Day, or to find your nearest participating record store, be sure to check out the event’s official website.